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Emotional Abuse

Emotional Abuse

Daycare abuse is unfortunately more common than many parents think, and often take the form of emotional abuse, which can be difficult to detect. Signs of physical abuse are easily visible through bruising and other lacerations. However, emotional abuse can take months or years to reveal itself to unsuspecting parents. If you begin to suspect signs of emotional abuse, it is important to take steps immediately to ensure the responsible parties will be held liable for their actions.


Emotional abuse refers to the derogatory and negative methods a child may be treated at a daycare center. This may take the form of bullying, encouraged bullying by other children at the daycare, rejection, or brutal statements to the child. These forms of emotional abuse can have a devastating impact on a young child. Children spend up to 12 hours at daycare centers each day, and this type of emotional abuse can shape their personalities at such a young age. Early signs of emotional abuse include bed wetting, chronic nightmares, withdrawn behavior, lack of appetite, or the observation of the child treating their toys the way they have been treated (in an abusive manner).


Many types of daycare abuse could rise to the level of criminal charges. While criminal charges and potential convictions will ensure that no other child is subject to this type of abuse, it does not directly compensate your family for the abuse which took place. You are entitled to bring a claim for damages in civil court at the same time as criminal charges are pending. Additionally, civil court charges have a lower burden of proof. Therefore, while a defendant must be found guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” in criminal court, a claimant in a civil lawsuit must only be found guilty “by a preponderance of the evidence” which is a lower burden.

Civil claims will hold the abuser financially liable for their actions. The claim itself will often include damages for medical expenses (in the case of both physical and emotional abuse), and further emotional damages caused by the abuse. An experienced daycare abuse attorney will assist you in determining the amount of damages you are entitled to claim as a result of the abuse.


Daycare abuse claims can be brought alongside criminal charges. However, the outcome of a criminal case will not impact any civil claim you may bring against the daycare or individual. Criminal charges have a higher burden of proof than civil claims, and therefore victims are more likely to receive a positive judgment in a civil suit over a criminal case. It is important to bring a claim as soon as you are aware that the abuse is occurring. The longer you delay to bring a claim, the more difficult the claim may be to bring, given the limitations periods and witness memories.

Emotional abuse claims may seem difficult to calculate out the worth of the claim, but experienced daycare abuse attorneys have set formulas they turn to in calculating the appropriate amount of damages you and your family are entitled to receive.


If your child has been the victim of emotional abuse at the hands of a daycare center or daycare center employee, do not hesitate to contact Tony Malley of the Malley Law Firm. Tony Malley has years of experience in assisting his clients with daycare abuse claims, especially claims stemming from emotional abuse. Even one incident of emotional abuse can have vast repercussions on your child’s growth and development. It is important to ensure that your family receives the appropriate damages necessary as a result of the abuse, and it is equally important to ensure that the daycare center and abuser are held responsible for their actions. Contact our Houston or Beaumont offices today for your initial free consultation.



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